Sony announced its entry into the tablet market a few months ago when it unveiled its Tablet S and Tablet P, both of which were premiered at IFA. We took the opportunity to try them out and, in general, we were quite impressed with what we saw.
From the original iPad and up to the most recent tablets — many of which had their debut yesterday in Berlin — never have we seen devices as unusual as Sony’s offerings. Tablet S has a 10-inch screen and an Nvidia Tegra 2 processor in a casing with an unusual design. The tablet is rounded and thick on the upper side and is significantly slimmer towards the lower side.
As Sony representatives told us, the engineers wanted to shift the tablet’s center of gravity from its center to the upper part, making it seem more natural when held with only one hand. In fact, when Tablet S is held in just one hand, one does not get the feeling that this is a 10-inch device, regardless of the fact that it weighs as much as an average 10-inch tablet. Rather, it feels as if it were a 7-inch tablet.
Sony added very elegant details to this innovative design, making it one of the most beautiful and up-to-date tablets yet. It is entirely crafted out of plastic materials, but is exceptionally hard and convincing. Apart from the microSD slot, there is also a highly practical full-size SD card slot, making this tablet an excellent tool for speedily watching photographs or videos recorded with a digital camera. It is a shame that there is no HDMI slot — Sony recommends their wireless DLAN technology, supported by Tablet S, to be used for music and video reproduction.
Sony’s 10-inch tablet also has an infrared emitter and an application which enables it to be used as a programmable remote control for various home appliances. These appliances do not necessarily have to be Sony’s, given that a large number of preprogrammed TV, Hi-Fi, DVD and Blu-ray player settings come with the application, as well as settings for similar devices of many famous manufacturers.
Tablet S uses Android OS 3.1 which Sony has adjusted to this device’s multimedia and entertainment orientation, adding an abundant set of applications which are normally not delivered with other Android tablets. Among others, there is a special Sony app-store called Select App, where applications specifically prepared for Sony tablets can be attained, including many famous PSP and PSOne games.
Clearly, the Nvidia processor can handle this device rather well, seeing how it did not glitch at all and was never too slow to respond to the task at hand.
An excellent screen helps this device respond to touch and finger movements characteristic for multitouch with exceptional precision and speed. However, we were not pleased with the contrast, as the display glass is too glossy and it decreases the visibility angle. Imaging, on the other hand, is very sharp and the colors are above average, vivacious, and convincing.
All this can be said for Sony’s other device, the clamshell Tablet P. This is a tablet with two smaller screens which can be folded and is reminiscent of portable gaming consoles. Clearly, Sony targeting a younger audience which will mostly use it for playing games and browsing the internet. Unlike Tablet S, this device does not feel nearly as comfortable or natural when held, but when it is folded, it can easily fit into a larger pocket or a cell phone pocket inside a bag.